Summer 2019

Hello Mustang Families!

Please take a moment to read this Mason Newsletter. It has all the information for you and your student(s) to be ready for the first day of school.

We hope you are enjoying your summer so far.

We look forward to welcoming our Mustangs soon!
Mark Your Calendar Image
>The Rising 12th Grade College Application Workshop is on Thursday, August 22 in the Library. There are two sessions to choose from: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

>The New Student Orientation and New Parent Orientation will be held on Thursday, August 29, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The orientation is for 9th - 12th graders and their parents who are new to our district. The Mustang Ambassadors sponsor the new student orientation and the PTSA sponsors the parent orientation. The student orientation is a way for new students to meet other students and to hear about the many activities and programs available at GMHS. It will be held in the Mustang Cafe. The parent orientation will be held in the auditorium and will have a similar program. At the conclusion of the orientations, we will have Laptop Distribution in the library.

>The Freshman Orientation will be held on Friday, August 30, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. in the Mustang Cafe. This informative program will introduce all 9th graders to their teachers, administrators, counselors, activities leaders and Mustang Ambassadors. Parents of freshman will meet in the Auditorium at 10:00 a.m. for orientation. At the conclusion of the orientations, Laptop Distribution will held in the library at 11:30 a.m.

>The First Day of School is Tuesday, September 3. It will be an ODD day with Blocks 1, 3, 5 and 7. School begins at 8:05 a.m.

>Laptop Distribution for returning Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors who did not keep their laptops over the summer will be Tuesday, September 3.

>Meet and Greet the Admin Team prior to Back-to-School Night on Wednesday, September 4,from 6:15 p.m. until 6:45 p.m. in the Library.

>Back-to-School Night will be on Wednesday, September 4, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:40 p.m. (For parents/legal guardians of ALL grades.) The Schedule for Back-to-School Night is as follows:
Block 1     7:00 - 7:10
Block 2     7:15 - 7:25
Block 3     7:30 - 7:40
Block 4     7:45 - 7:55
Block 5     8:00 - 8:10
 Block 6     8:15 - 8:25
 Block 7     8:30 - 8:40
The purpose of this special event is to give parents and guardians a general understanding of each course. There will not be time for teachers to engage families in individual conversations regarding student performance. Teachers will provide you with contact information so that you might reach out to arrange for a more personal conversation.

>GMHS Tailgate Party will be held on Friday, September 6, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Tailgate Party 2019 Image

>FCEF 15th Annual Run for the Schools will be held on Sunday, September 15, at 8:00 a.m. at 300 Park Avenue, Falls Church City. Register your family, become a sponsor or volunteer here.

FC Education Foundation Logo

>Student Portraits (Grades 9-11) are scheduled for Thursday, September 19.

>Senior/Parent College Information Night regarding senior year and the college application process will be held on Wednesday, September 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the Mustang Cafe.

Football Homecoming Image

>The Homecoming Game (Sidwell Friends @ George Mason) is Friday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m.

>The Homecoming Dance is on Saturday, September 28 at 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.

Standards-Based Grading

At the end of last school year, we shared with you that both Mary Ellen Henderson and George Mason High School are moving forward with the implementation of standards-based grading. Our decision to make this shift aligns with Falls Church City Public Schools’ vision to be a premier IB division. We believe this best practice allows us to focus on improving student achievement and to foster reflective, life-long learners, as part of the IB’s mission.

Standards-based grading allows students to take ownership of their learning by providing more clarity and consistency in terms of specific, actionable feedback to support performance on IB MYP objectives and criteria. This practice separates learning behaviors from academic proficiency and offers opportunities for students to reflect on their performance and set individual learning goals, resulting in increased independence and confidence.

Prior to the start of the year, our first cohort of teachers will have received two days of training to prepare for full implementation of standards-based grading. Throughout the year, the cohort will have opportunities to share their practice, reflect on its impact and lead us in future decision making to guide teachers in the following years.

We’ll be in touch soon about information sessions to support your understanding of standards-based learning and what you can expect to see in terms of following your students’ achievement and supporting their growth. In addition, teachers who are involved in the first cohort will provide specifics about this practice in their courses at the “Back to School” evenings at each school.

Notes from the Counseling Office

We hope you are having a wonderful and relaxing summer. We have been working hard in the Counseling Office, gearing up for what we know will be an incredible 2019-2020 school year!

The George Mason High School Counseling Department provides all students with a comprehensive school counseling program designed to facilitate college and career readiness and develop academic and personal growth in order for our students to meet with their greatest potential. Students are assigned to the following school counselors:

                                    Dana Quirine - Students with last names A-F

                                    Brad McAdam - Students with last names G-O

                                    Valerie Chesley - Students with last names P-Z

We can't wait to work with you this year!

Take care, 
Ilana Reyes
K-12 Director of Counseling

Student Schedules

All students will go directly to their Block 1 class on the first day of school. Students will have access to their schedule through PowerSchool by August 22nd. Although students will be able to view their schedule on PowerSchool, schedules will not be finalized until August 30th. If they have difficulty accessing their schedule, there will be staff located in the Mustang Cafe, main office and lobby to assist them on the first day of school.

Hard copies of student schedules will be provided to students during Block 1 on the first day of school and students will follow the schedule assigned to them. If there are errors in a schedule, the student should schedule an appointment with their Counselor as quickly as possible. After errors are corrected, the counselors will consider other requests for scheduling changes.  

Changes that involve adding a new class must be completed by the 10th day of school. Students may not begin a new class after 10 school days have passed. If students wish to change a class, they must begin by filling out the Schedule Change Request Form. A request to change a course DOES NOT guarantee the change is possible.

Returning Student Enrollment  

Returning student enrollment instructions for the 2019-2020 school year were sent by email to all families the week of July 1, 2019. This data should be completed by August 17 to ensure the required residency documentation is received. If a computer is needed to complete this registration, please contact Ms.Thayer in the Counseling office at or call 703-248-5525.

Proof of Residency is required yearly and must be provided to the registrar via email  ( or fax (703-248-5556) or dropped off before your student’s registration will be approved and entered into PowerSchool. More details are provided in the online registration.

Senior Parking 

Parking passes will only be sold to Seniors for the 2019-2020 school year. Senior parking passes are first-come, first serve and will be sold starting on Wednesday, August 21st. This year, we are encouraging seniors to carpool. For any two seniors who purchase one spot together, they will receive a $100 discount. Individual Senior parking passes will be sold for $250. "Carpool" parking passes will be sold for $150. All students must provide a valid driver's license at the time of purchase. Parking will be located along Haycock Road as well as the "island" of the upper lot at GM (Blocks 1 and 2 in gray in the visual aid below). Senior parking will be in these two lots only.

GMHS Parking Plan Visual Aid

Seniors can pick up parking pass forms from Ms. Flanigan in the Main Office or Ms. Baldo in the Finance Office beginning Wednesday, August 21, from 8:00 a.m until 2:30 p.m. All parking pass forms must be filled out and signed by the student and the parent/guardian and returned to the office with either a check made payable to GMHS or cash. You must have a valid driver's license at the time the parking pass is requested. All fines/fees must be cleared before a parking pass is issued. Please note that students run the risk of being towed if they do not display the current 2019-2020 student parking decal on their vehicles.
Students who are unable to purchase a GMHS student parking decal can park for a daily fee at the Northern Virginia Graduate Center (if spaces are available) or the Metro lot.

From the Transportation Office

Bus routes will be posted online by August 30th

Important Information from FCCPS
Food Service Director Richard Kane

Lunch prices for George Mason High School are $4.00 per meal and breakfast prices are $2.50 per meal. We updated our computerized system which now allows us to manage our business faster and better. The system is called Café Enterprise.

Debit accounts for students

A great feature of this system is that each student has a “debit account” (not a credit account) with us. This means that money is deposited into the account, and then the student can purchase lunch using it. Each student has an account number which is the same as their student ID number. At lunch time, the student enters their number on the pin pad and the computer accesses the student’s account. If there is money in the account, the purchase is deducted. If the student is eligible for a free meal, the computer acts as if the student has meal credits in the account. If there is no money in the account, and the student is a paying student, the computer will ask for the price of the meal.

How can you assist us?       

By sending your check before September 3rd so we can deposit it in your child’s account. Please send one check per student. Checks should be made out to FCCPS Food Service and dropped off at the Main Office, with your child’s name and student ID number, or by creating an account online at and pay by credit card. The following credit cards are accepted: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Card.

Parents can view their child’s account balance and pay for multiple children at different schools by creating an online account at All balances from the prior school year will transfer over. To view your student’s account you do not need to use a credit card. If meals are purchased online there is a small fee to use this service. Please remember, any checks sent to the Food Service office must include your student’s name and ID number to ensure funds are applied to the correct student.

Food Services will be offering two lunch entrees with a choice of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit each school day. Also available will be pre-packaged cold sandwiches. Applications for free or reduced-price lunches are posted on the website. You can also download the applications here:
Please return your free/reduced-price lunch application or send payment directly to Food Services at the Main Office before September 3, 2019, to allow time to process before the first day of school. Lunch applications are accepted throughout the school year. It takes about 10 days to process them. We look forward to serving your students a nutritious lunch this school year. If you have additional questions, please call the Food Service office at 703-248-5534 or attend one of the PTSA meetings for a Q&A  session at the beginning of the school year to meet the FCCPS Food Service Director, Richard Kane.
Notes from the Math Department
All students enrolled in a Mathematics class are required to have a graphing calculator. If you are purchasing a new calculator, please purchase TI-84 CE. These can be charged with a USB charger and do not require batteries. The Mathematics department has a limited supply of old TI-83 graphing calculators which students may check out from the library for the school year.  
>Students are required to provide their own batteries or power cord.
>Students who did not return graphing calculators lent to them from past school years will not be eligible to borrow another calculator until the fine is paid or the calculator is returned in working order.
>Used calculators are sometimes procured from sources such as eBay or Craigslist. Please be certain that these calculators are in complete working order before purchase.
If you purchase a new calculator, please look for the redeemable points on the package and take them to your Math teacher.


Notes from the Health Room

Greetings from the George Mason Health Room! We hope everyone has been enjoying a safe and healthy summer break!

The Health Room will be open on August 29th and 30th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for parents to drop off any medications. Each medication requires a signed Authorization Form, and these can be downloaded from the FCCPS website (

-- Simone Wright, GMHS Health Aide

Please note:
·  There are specific forms for inhalers and Epi-pens.
·  Medications can be given 30 minutes prior to or after the time stated on the prescription or Authorization Form. When indicating the time to be given, please remember to include timing on early school closings.
·  Students who self-carry their Epi-pens or inhalers must have signed Authorization Forms on file in the GMHS Health Room.

If you have any questions regarding medications or want to discuss a health condition that will affect your student’s school day, please contact:

Aimee Simons, RN BSN
School Public Health Nurse
Fairfax County Health Department
Vision and Hearing Screenings for ALL students in Grade 10 and all new students in Grades 9 – 12 will be held on October 3rd and 4th. Parent volunteers are always needed and always welcome!

2019-2020 Yearbook Ordering Information 

The 2019-2020 Yearbook will be ordered directly through our publishing partner, Jostens. Parents are highly encouraged to order early and online by clicking here to go directly to the George Mason HS ordering site. The early price for the yearbook is $75.

For any questions, please contact:
Jason Baranowski | Jostens Yearbooks | 703-463-6061 |

Senior Portraits and Recognition Ads

Parents are also encouraged to order a recognition ad for graduating seniors.Just click here to create and purchase senior recognition ads to be included in the 2019-2020 edition of The Mustang. Thank you!

Senior make-up portraits are scheduled for October 30 and October 31. If you have any questions regarding senior portraits or need assistance, please visit the Victor O'Neill website at and they will be happy to answer all of your questions. 

Athletic Boosters

Dear Mustang Families,

I invite you to join the GMHS Athletic Boosters Association for the 2019-2020 school year. The Boosters supports ALL of the athletic programs at George Mason High School and our goal is to help our teams, our student-athletes, and our coaches to grow and thrive. As a 501c(3) school-affiliated organization that is formally recognized by FCCPS, the Athletic Boosters is able to coordinate with GMHS staff to create a positive, supportive, and welcoming experience for our entire community.

Why should I join?

Over 50 percent of Mason students (and MEH 8th graders who are eligible to play on JV teams) participate in athletics. Our high school’s unique commitment to developing the mind, body and character of all of our student-athletes is one that the entire GMHS community should embrace.
Through the sale of memberships and other fundraising activities, the Athletic Boosters is able to make major equipment purchases for our teams, provide seven scholarships to graduating seniors each year, and host an awards ceremony each season to celebrate the accomplishments of our student-athletes. Finally, we have made a commitment to support the participation of all students in Mason Athletics, regardless of their ability to pay. To this end, we manage the Bill Rose Athlete Assistance Fund that provides financial aid in the form of athletics fees, personal equipment, and mandatory sports clinics to those students facing financial challenges.

We need you!

Our organization is made up entirely of volunteers: parents of MEH and GMHS students and graduates, GMHS Alumni, as well as the FCC community. Our funding comes entirely from you, our members, and we cannot continue our work without your support.

How can I get involved?

Along with joining the Athletic Boosters Association and/or making a (tax-deductible) financial donation to one of our funds, there are many ways to support the Athletic Boosters and our programs: attend a monthly meeting to learn more about Boosters; volunteer in our concession stands or on Mulch Day; or buy spirit wear through the Mason Fan Shop.
You may purchase a Membership online here OR by using the form below.
To learn more about the Athletic Boosters (or to find a game schedule) please visit our website and follow us on Twitter @gmhs_aba.
We hope you will consider joining the Athletic Boosters Association because a strong and vibrant athletic community at GMHS enhances our entire community. On behalf of the Boosters, thank you for your support of Mason Athletics.

Go Mustangs!

Becki Creed
President, GMHS Athletic Boosters Association
Mason Fan Shop Image

A Message from the PTSA President

On behalf of the GMHS Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! We are looking forward to a great year full of information, events and activities. Check out what we have in store late August and the first weeks of school. No need to RSVP to any of these events - just come. Just so that you know, there are donuts involved for the first two meetings, so that's a plus. See you soon!

Thursday, August 29, at 10 a.m. in the Mustang Café and Auditorium
GMHS Orientation for Families New to Falls Church. Students meet in the Café and parents meet in the Auditorium. Laptop distribution will be held in the library at 11:30 a.m. for new students only.

Friday, August 30, at 10 a.m. in the Mustang Café and Auditorium
GMHS 9th grade Orientation for students and parents. Laptop distribution will be held in the library at 11:30 a.m. for 9th grade students only.

Wednesday, September 18, at 7 p.m., Joint MEH & GMHS PTA - Location TBD
Come to our first PTSA meeting of the year to talk about the construction and plans for the new high school and PYP.

Please take a minute to join the PTSA online today!

Go to

Join the Hospitality Committee! We are looking for some parents who would like to be on the hospitality committee to help treat our teachers and staff throughout the school year. This is an easy and fun job! If you’d like to help out, please e-mail us at


Alixandria Lapp, President

and the PTSA Executive Council
- Mary Asel, Vice President
- Whitney Casstevens, Vice President
- Kristin Stamilio, Secretary
- Fraser Traverse, Treasurer

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